Truth And Reconciliation Just Won’t Do

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

cross posted from The Dream Antilles

The New York Times reports that finally Britain, despite five years of denials, now admits that it was involved in illegal renditions extraditions kidnappings.  That’s not much of a surprise.  Britain is fessing up to two of these.  Nobody really thinks that is all there were.

Britain’s defense minister made an unusual public apology on Thursday, admitting Britain had taken part in the “rendition” of suspects detained in Iraq after denying it for years.

In a lengthy statement to parliament, Defense Secretary John Hutton confirmed that Britain handed over two suspects captured in Iraq in 2004 to U.S. custody and that they were subsequently transferred to Afghanistan, breaching U.S.-British agreements.

The Ministry of Defense has been repeatedly asked over the past five years about its involvement in rendition, the unlawful transfer of suspects to a third country, and consistently denied it played any role in the U.S.-administered program.

“I regret that it is now clear that inaccurate information on this particular issue has been given to the House by my department on a small number of occasions,” Hutton said. “I want to apologize to the House for these errors.”

“Inaccurate information” is diplomatic speak for lies.  “These errors” is diplomatic speak for five years of continuous lies.

According to the Times, the two men were captured by British troops in Iraq in February 2004 and were flown to Afghanistan, where they remain in U.S. custody.  And where, parenthetically, the Obama Administration says that they are not permitted to have access to the US Courts to contest the legality of their detention by filing habeas corpus.

Reprieve says about all of this:

“For years now the British government has been tossing us miserable scraps of information about its involvement in illegal renditions in Pakistan, Diego Garcia and now Afghanistan,” said Clara Gutteridge, an investigator with Reprieve, a charity that campaigns for the release of detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

“Enough is enough. The British government must come clean and reveal exactly who it has captured, what has been done to them and where they are now,” she said. “I’m afraid this is only the tip of the renditions iceberg.”

Enough really is enough.  The US too needs to come clean.  And having a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, in which those who have committed these illegal acts, tell their stories and eventually receive immunity is just unacceptable.  It is not how the US should tell the story of its extensive human rights violations.  There need to be a criminal investigations.  And there need to be prosecutions.  And there needs to be an end of secrecy about crimes.

Anything less, after all of the lying and all of the illegal acts, and all of the contorted, disingenuous legal mumbo jumbo, falls far, far short.


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  1. I’m going back to my woodshed/hiatus.  But I did want to wave and send you this story.

    Thanks for reading.  And for still being here.  Hasta pronto.

  2. …am just passing through.  Nothing to see here!  Nope.

    Of course, one of the common arguments for truth and reconciliation commissions is that when people have actually been disappeared, it is more likely you will never know what happened to them than you will; and so the genuine, cooperative memory of the perpetrators is the best hope of a true story.

    It is kind o’interesting to me to consider that, because neither an immunity-granting commission or prosecution seems very likely to result in real information about the actual people, like, the ones that some poor CIA sap can remember, when he or she is actually trying to help, as well as the ones whose names eventually form in the various alphabet soups of agencies and governments and whose histories are handled reluctantly, if at all.  There’s a level of honesty this just hasn’t hit — actual people who are…or were…somewhere…and what has happened to them or is happening(all of them).  At least, my sense of it, probably that of others as well…

    • Viet71 on February 26, 2009 at 23:08

    but more than anything, I want truth and sunlight.

  3. Just the name “commission” urks me.  How long to appoint a commission?  How long for a study by a commission?  How long before a report comes out by a commission?  How much detail lost? etc.  What a waste!!!!  Just another puny effort as a substitute for what really needs to be done and some “crumbs” for Americans.

    Now, they’re referring to it as a torture commission!  

    If Sen. Whitehouse was talking about a Special Prosecutor to investigate and prosecute the Bush war crimes, as passionately as he speaks here, I could get quite excited.

  4. Yes we absolutely need to know what happened to these folks and what is currently happening to them, for that matter.

    Moreover, there is no question in my mind that Bush and Cheney ordered illegal renditions. They need to be held accountable.

    My concern is the political repercussions. I mean this: What will happen in 2016 if the Stim Bill is an epic failure, for example. What if a large portion of the Stim money ends up in a black hole of corruption and graft. Will the Republicans call for their own T&R Commission as much for revenge as for a genuine concern about missing taxpayer money?

    I argued against impeaching Bush for much the same reason. As much as I think both Bush and Cheney needed to be impeached, would it look like revenge for impeaching The Big Dog and a power grab by Pelosi. (If only Bush had been removed, we would have been stuck with Cheney. If both were remove, Pelosi would have been President.)

    I still come down on the side of pushing for a T&R Commission. This is important stuff and a national embarrassment. People have to be held accountable. If that means sending a former president to stand trial at The Hague, so be it. I trust Dems not to pull this kind of crap in the future.

    btw: this is only my second day here. Hello, everyone.

  5. I just can’t see a T&R doing any good. For one thing if there isn’t a hammer over the heads of the individuals responsible, particularly in the lower echelons, where is the motivation to speak anything other than “I don’t recall”?

    There has to be prosecutions, and hopefully convictions, with punishment appropriate to the crimes. And I mean severe punishment, not just a slap on the hands or a few months in some federal day camp. Lets see 10-20 years in a max lock down, maybe SOLITARY for the worst of  the perpetrators. I spent a few weeks in solitary when I was in the army stockade back in 68 when I said fuck you to the army….it is NO fun.

    There has to be some deterrent to further power abuses by our elected officials. It is only 1 out of how many 1,000’s that is enough of a sociopath to be the perp in crimes of this nature, but it is 1 in (what?) 2 or 3 or 4 or ? that will follow the lead of such mentally ill people. These weak victims of the aura of power need to know that they, too, will be held responsible. There wasn’t a defense of “just following orders” at Nuremberg, why should there be a lesser standard now?

    OT, but how do I get the videos that have the little square with the colored circle, square, and triangle to come up?

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